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Sharing a Flat

Madrid English teacher Kelley Pigott writes about the problems he had the first time he shared an apartment in Madrid. You can either simply read and listen to the text below. Or you can do the interactive activities in this order: Websequitur, Vocabulary Matching, Easy Cloze, Difficult Cloze, Sharing a Flat Comprehension Quiz.

 
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Photo of Kelley Pigott

by Kelley Pigottt
    Profesor de inglés en Madrid Centro

When it comes to sharing a flat, you have to take the good with the bad. While I’m not new to this type of arrangement, I certainly always had had more good than bad, until recently that is …

I chose a flat in San Blas, located in the east of Madrid. At the outset it seemed that the place offered more positives than negatives. The reality was that at the time I just needed something, anything, so I wasn’t seeing very clearly.

Nowadays, I swiftly eliminate a potential living situation in which there is the slightest sign of something negative or suspicious. It’s also quite clear now that one must make a point of taking a glance in the refrigerator; this everyday appliance can sometimes be the key to unlocking the secret of whether to share a roof with strangers.

However, on this occasion I didn’t have such wisdom and discovered I was to be with housemates who didn’t have the faintest notion of cleanliness. Surely their closest relatives were pigs, and as youth these two people must have been as accustomed to filth as the average person is accustomed to eating three daily meals. This translated into regularly coming home to cooking pots slimed with grease and pans caked in rice; the grime was enough to make a pig feel right at home. This also meant that I was to find cups and plates strewn everywhere almost as if there were four other roommates in the house, rather than the three of us. Now, I’m not particularly maniacal about cleanliness, but when I see the same plate or sauce pan a week later then I begin to get a bit touchy . . .




Nuevas Actividades para Estudiar Inglés

David Harper Actividad para practicar el verbo "get" realizada por el profesor de inglés David Harper. Lee el texto y decide dónde insertar el verbo "get" (hay más que 20 ejemplos en distintas formas). Luego escucha el texto para comprobar tus respuestas.Uses of Get.


Actividad para practicar pronunciación realizada por el profesor de inglés William Christison (Clases Particulares de Inglés). Lee el poema anónimo. Luego escucha y comprueba: (pronunciación - estadounidense).


CC Golf Image The Masters Golf Championship. - Actividades para leer y escuchar de Hotpotatoes por el profesor de inglés Peter Wilson Clarke - Verbs Vocabulary, Other Vocabulary, Cloze, Quiz.






Just when I thought I’d really lost it, I walked into the house one evening and upon flicking on the light I encountered nothing but pitch black! I tried to think of what it might be, but to no avail — the power was simply out!!

Luckily, I could still take a hot shower for the ensuing weeks, but in the end I went without the stove and lights for a total of three weeks while my roommates had left for the holidays. In addition, my roommates had left without giving me any indication of who to call or how to get a hold of them in case of a problem. A few days into this mind-splitting experience, a piece of mail arrived which revealed an unsightly unpaid electric bill. This was just the beginning of uncovering the mystery, as I later discovered, after opening the other bills, that the two nimrods for roommates hadn’t paid a single bill (electricity, telephone, or gas) since they’d lived in the place.

This amounted to nearly a year’s time and over a 1,000 euros. I finally realized that only I could find any way out of the mess, despite having not had a hand in their remarkable idiocy. So, I went to the Yellow Pages and looked up the number of what I thought was the owner of the flat. A few days later he got back to me and eventually the lights went back on. At this point I started to wonder about the 2-month (500 euros) deposit that I’d originally given to one of the original housemates. ( Who apparently had went back to his home country of Venezuela without any intention of returning.)

The owner of the flat never knew that I was living there and could have easily pocketed the money himself. However, I’d luckily thought ahead enough to sign an informal agreement with the roommate to whom I had given the deposit and so the owner respected that and after much waiting and worrying, he even returned it to me.

I suppose the upshot could be to make sure to peek in the refrigerator before signing up for a new flat. Perhaps even more important is to remember to sign some paperwork regarding your deposit and try to meet the landlord, or at least hope he is as true to his word as mine was.

Now, do these activities:

Sharing a Flat - Easy Cloze - Listen to the text and choose the correct words.

Sharing a Flat - Difficult Cloze - Listen to the text and write the correct words.

Sharing a Flat Comprehension Quiz - Choose the correct answers for these multiple-choice questions.

Vocabulary

If you like, do this activity first: Sharing a Flat - Vocabulary Matching.

See the article translated to Spanish at: Compartir un Piso.

when it comes to sharing a flat - cuando toca compartir piso
you have to take the good with the bad - hay que estar a las duras y a las maduras
while - mientras
while I’m not new to this type of arrangement - aunque este tipo de apaño no me coge de nuevas
arrangement - plan / solución / apaño
that is - quiero decir
at the outset - en aquel momento
anything - lo que fuera
so I wasn’t seeing very clearly - por lo que no me di cuenta de gran cosa
nowadays - ahora
I eliminate - descarto
swiftly - rápidamente
a potential living situation - qualquier vivienda
there is the slightest sign of - que deje ligeramente entrever
something negative - algo negativo
suspicious - sospechoso
it’s quite clear - tengo claro
one must make a point of - hay que asegurarse
take a glance - echar un vistazo
everyday appliance - electrodoméstico tan cotidiano
can sometimes be the key - a menudo resulta clave
to unlocking the secret - para desvelar el secreto
of whether to share a roof - de si conviene o no compartir un techo
however - sin embargo
on this occasion - en aquella ocasión
I didn’t have such wisdom - no estaba tan prevenido
wisdom - sabiduría
I was to be with housemates - que tendría que convivir con compañeros
the faintest notion of cleanliness - la más mínima noción de limpieza
surely - sin duda
their closest relatives - sus familiares más cercanos
were pigs - eran del género porcino
as youth - en su juventud
these people must have been accustomed - parecía que se habían acostumbrado
these two people must have been as accustomed to filth as the average person is accustomed to eating three daily meals - parecía que en su juventud se habían acostumbrado a la suciedad igual que una persona corriente está acostumbrada a tres comidas al día
filth - suciedad
cooking pots - cacharros de cocina
slimed with grease - pringosos de grasa
pans - cacerolas
caked in rice - cubiertas de arroz
grime - mugre
to make a pig feel right at home - para que un cerdo se sintiera como en su propia casa
this also meant - esto también conllevaba
strewn everywhere - tirados por cualquier lado
almost as if - como si hubiéramos
roommates - compañeros de vivienda
rather than - en vez de
now, I’m not particularly maniacal about cleanliness - y no es que sea especialmente maniático con la limpieza
particularly - especialmente
maniacal - maniático
when . . . a week later- cuando transcurre una semana
I begin to get a bit touchy - me empiezo a mosquear un poco
Just when I thought I’d really lost it - Justo cuando empezaba a pensar que me iba a dar un ataque
upon flicking on the light - al encender el interruptor
I encountered nothing but pitch black - aquello permaneció completamente a oscuras
I tried to think of what it might be - estuve dándole vueltas al asunto para averiguar dónde estaba el problema
but to no avail - pero fue inútil
the power was simply out! - me había quedado sin electricidad!
luckily - por suerte
for the ensuing weeks - durante las semanas siguientes
in the end - con el tiempo
I went without - me quedé sin
the stove and lights - gas y sin luz
in addition - además
any indication - ninguna seña
to get a hold of them - ponerme en contacto con ellos
a few days into this - tras unos días con estos
mind-splitting experience - quebraderos de cabeza
an unsightly unpaid electric bill - una espantosa factura de electricidad sin pagar
uncovering the mystery - resolución del misterio
as I later discovered - ya que más tarde descubrí
bill - factura
nimrods - capullos
this amounted to nearly a year’s time - esta situación se remontaba a casi un año atrás
I finally realized - Al final llegué a la conclusión
that only I could find any way out of the mess - que sólo yo podía encontrar la solución a este embrollo
despite not having had a hand in - a pesar de que no había tenido nada que ver con
their remarkable idiocy - su suprema imbecilidad
so - así que
I went to the Yellow Pages - recurrí a las Páginas Amarillas
I looked up the number - consulté el número
the owner of the flat - el dueño del piso
he got back to me - se puso en contacto conmigo
eventually - finalmente
at this point - en este momento
I started to wonder - comencé a pensar
the 2-month deposit - el depósito de 2 meses
who apparently had went back to - que parece que se volvió a
his home country - su país de origen
without any intention of returning - sin la más mínima intención de regresar
pocketed the money himself - quedarse el dinero para él
I’d luckily thought ahead enough - por suerte tuve la precaución suficiente
to sign an informal agreement with - para firmar un acuerdo informal con
the owner respected that - el dueño lo respetó
after much waiting and worrying - tras mucha espera y preocupación
he even returned it to me - incluso terminó por devolvérmelo
I suppose - supongo
the upshot - la conclusión
to make sure - que hay que asegurarse
to peek in the refrigerator - mirar el frigorífico
before signing up for a new flat - antes de meterse en un nuevo piso
perhaps even more important is to - quizá sea aún más importante
to remember to sign some paperwork - acordarse de firmar algún papel
try to meet the landlord - procurar hablar con el dueño
at least hope - por lo menos cruzar los dedos
he is as true to his word as mine was - para que sea tan fiel a su palabra como lo fue éste



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